Masterton District Council 2019 election candidate Isabella McClymont with her father, deputy mayor, Graham. PHOTO/STEVE RENDLE

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

Isabella McClymont says she was on a bike ride with her father, deputy mayor, Graham McClymont when she first raised the issue of standing for election to Masterton District Council.

She said she had always been interested in council and had always talked with her father about what was going on there.

Even when she lived overseas and she called home “what’s happening on council?” would always come up in the conversations.

“I had been bending his ear about council for about 10 years. We were out for a bike ride one day and I said ‘what would you think if I ran?’ He said it was a great idea.”

If she is successful, she will be the third generation of the family to be so because her great-great uncle Charlie McClymont was on the 1927 Masterton Borough Jubilee Council.

The 28-year-old former Wairarapa College pupil knows there will be haters and that they can get nasty during a campaign.

She finds such people are knockers who generally don’t come up with solutions to problems.

“They have lots of opinions but not ways of solving the problems. You can think what you like but if you are not offering a solution what is the point?”

She said she has spoken to her father and to Mayor Lyn Patterson about the challenges of public office and Patterson’s advice was you can’t let haters stop you from doing good things and she agreed.

“My whole thing is I am positive and an optimist. A realist but ultimately acting positively is the main thing.”

She likes to take the approach of “how can we solve this, how can we do it together?”.

She has worked for council in communications roles, a part-time gig.

She said it was great when the community came up with an idea and the council was supportive of it.

It was also great when councillors listened and were prepared to change their minds.

On the issue of the Civic Centre, she said she knew the old town hall well, having appeared in it in many theatre productions throughout her childhood.

The inside of the building, which is three separate buildings, had problems but the façade was lovely.

“The town hall is going to consultation. My position is that actually the building interior is terrible.

“The façade I would be open to keeping but it depends on the cost and it depends on what people tell us what they want.”

She said if people really wanted something and they were prepared to pay rates to fund it councillors should listen.

“Ultimately the job is listening to what people tell you and acting on it. You have to be able to change your mind based on new information.”

At the end of the day “we work for them”.

She said she was a “youngish” person. Her focus would be on youth but not exclusively.

“I’m more about the growth of the town.

“We have an older population. You still have to think about them.”

She’ll be doing flyers for her campaign and has chosen yellow as the main colour because it is her favourite colour, is positive and is not aligned with a political genre in the same way blue and red are.

She said she had a unique perspective because she had worked for council and she had been setting up her own small business.

It also gives her flexibility to be a councillor.

She is of the view that council meetings at 2pm in the afternoon don’t foster public participation and she would like to see them held later in the day.

She would like council to be more flexible and transparent and believes this would foster public participation.

Nominations for positions on the MDC, Carterton District Council, South Wairarapa District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wairarapa District Health Board, as well as various trusts, wards, boards and a foundation opened today.